Ask John
Who were Ireland's first Wallace brothers?
John Griffiths
August 28, 2013
England's Mike Weston, August 1, 1967
England's Mike Weston - but which College did he attend? © Getty Images

Welcome to the latest edition of Ask John where renowned rugby historian John Griffiths will answer any rugby-related query you have!

So, if there's something you've always wanted to know about the game we love but didn't know who to ask, or you think you can stump our expert - then get involved by sending us a question.

In this edition, John answers questions on Mike Weston's career, a multi-talented South African, Ireland's first Wallace brother, Super Rugby Man of the Match awards and a very special game between Wales and France.

What College in London did Mike Weston, the former England captain, attend? Walter, England

Mike Weston, a powerful centre with a siege-gun kick, was educated at Durham School in his home town and played for the local (city) club and county before winning his first cap against Wales at Twickenham in a 14-6 win in January 1960. England kept their side unchanged for an unbeaten season in which they won the Triple Crown and shared the Championship with France. (The two nations drew 3-3 in Paris).

Weston played club rugby for Richmond between 1960 and 1962 while he studied at the College of Estate Management and became a fixture in the England side, playing in 24 of the 25 Tests (he missed the Scotland game in 1962) between 1960 and 1964. He captained the first England team to tour abroad - to New Zealand and Australia in the summer of 1963.

On tour with the Lions in South Africa in 1962 he injured his right ankle and never really fully recovered from the setback, despite going out to Australia and New Zealand with Mike Campbell-Lamerton's tourists four years later.

He returned to England colours as a kicking fly-half, but the ankle injury finally compelled him to retire in December 1968. He stepped down as the most-capped England back of all time - only forwards Wavell Wakefield, Eric Evans and "Budge" Rogers had won more than Weston's 29 England caps. He also played in six Tests for the Lions.

Mike Weston went on to enjoy a successful professional career as a partner in a leading Durham estate agency business, was appointed a J.P. when he was only 30 and later served English rugby as chairman of selectors, the role he occupied at the time of the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.

Who was the South African who scored winning cricket runs and rugby points against Australia in the same year? D Smith, South Africa

Roy McLean of Natal performed this unusual feat in 1953.

In the final Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in February 1953 he contributed a swashbuckling 76 not out to a match-winning stand of 106 with Headley Keith that enabled South Africa to share their series with Australia 2-all.

Then, in June, in the opening rugby match of the tour of South Africa made by John Solomon's Wallabies he dropped the winning goal to provide Natal with a 15-14 victory.

He never played in a rugby Test for the Springboks, giving up the game soon after his annus mirabilis in order to concentrate on his cricket career.

What can you tell me please about brothers Joseph and James Wallace who played for Ireland? ...and can you publish a photo of them please? Michael O' Dwyer, Ireland

James and Joseph Wallace were natives of Roscrea, County Tipperary. They were educated at the Rutland School in Athlone and studied at Trinity College, Dublin where they played as forwards for the university's first XV. After graduating, they turned out for the Wanderers club whose home was Lansdowne Road.

James, the elder of the two boys, was born on October 30 1876 and became a lawyer. He was in the Dublin University XVs from 1899 to 1902 and won two Irish caps, against England and Scotland, in 1904 after touring South Africa alongside his younger brother with the 1903 British/Irish Lions. He died in a nursing home in the Monkstown area of Dublin on January 14 1961, aged 84.

Joseph was born on August 3 1878 and featured in the University XVs from 1901 to 1903, overlapping his elder brother for one season. He made his Ireland debut against Scotland in 1903, lined out with his brother twice in 1904 and won the last of his ten caps in a victory against Wales in 1906. The Irish side lost both half-backs in that match, Joe deputising as scrum-half and scoring a try in a win that deprived Wales the Triple Crown.

Joe practised medicine in his native Tipperary until retirement in 1963. He passed away in Roscrea on January 29 1967, aged 88.

To the best of knowledge they were unrelated to the three Wallace brothers who played for Ireland and the Lions in more recent times.

James Wallace is seated far left middle row and Joe Wallace seated far right of the same row © Wayland, Blackheath

Liam Messam was Man of the Match in the recent Super Rugby final. Who have been the Man of the Match winners in the previous finals? James Manson, England

Liam Messam is the only official holder of this title.

As you say, he was named Man of the Match in the Chiefs' recent 27-22 victory against the Brumbies. He also won the laurels in last year's Final when the Chiefs defeated the Sharks 37-6 at Waikato Stadium.

There was no official Man of the Match award in the previous Finals. The organisers introduced a Man of the Match medal for the first this year. There was no trophy to mark Messam's achievement in last year's Final.

© Getty Images

Do you have details - teams and scorers - for the Wales B v France B match staged at Pontypool in November 1976? John Stevens, Wales

The match took place at Pontypool Park on Saturday November 13 1976, the Welsh winning 24-6. The arrangement between the countries at the time was that neither side included players who had been capped at full international level.

Wales B won comfortably after leading 14-0 at half-time.

Wales B: W Davies; E Rees, D Burcher (captain), P Phillips, B Juliff; D Richards, B Williams; C Williams, M Watkins, G Howls, C Howcroft, R Thomas, C Burgess, R Davies, J Squire

Tries: Burcher (2), Burgess, Richards Conversion: Phillips Penalty Goals: Phillips (2)

France B: G Cruchoux; N Guillemot, H Cistacq, M Billac, G Nov├Ęs; A Caussade, J-P Lafforgue; D Dubroca, P Dintrans, A Chauvet, B Junca, J-F Marchal, R Petrissans (captain), J Ayral, J-P Decrae.

Try: Ayral Conversion: Caussade

Referee: Mr D I H Burnett (Ireland)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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